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  • Kirn Pitamber

Gardening with Wood Chips

Wood pile just delivered

I know, I know. This looks like a crazy mess. Who would want tons of wood chips??? By the end of this post YOU will.

Gardening can simply mean mowing the lawn and pulling out weeds. Or it can turn into a deep appreciation for what our Mother Earth does for us. For me & my husband it's the latter. Through trial & error, we have found what works for our garden. Our goal is to grow everything organically. Chemical fertilizer depletes the soil of nutrients over time. And it's horrible for us to consume.

Our Valencia Orange tree

When we bought our house, we had some established fruit trees and rose bushes. We decided to plant more ourselves. The trees and bushes weren't growing so we researched organic farming methods. We came across a method called "Back to Eden Gardening." This concept believes in emulating the forest. No one goes around fertilizing the forest, yet the trees still thrive. Why? Because of leaves, the branches, and other natural items decomposing on the forest floor which then feeds the trees.

We realized the top layer of soil was not absorbing the water and would just run off. The roots weren't getting watered. So we decided to try using wood chips. This was 2 years ago, and it was a game changer. To purchase wood chips from a big box store would have been extremely expensive. We saw on Youtube that tree trimming companies would give their wood chips. So we called around to find a company that would deliver wood chips to us. These companies actually want to donate wood chips because they have to pay a fee to discard them at a land fill. It's a win win!

Wood chips under one stunning rose bush

A company dumped a truck load of wood chips to us and that's when the work began. After pushing lots of barrels and a whole lot of shoveling, we noticed so many benefits. We laid the wood chips in the winter during the rainy season. Throughout the year everything was growing better than ever! And our arms were stronger than ever!

Fast forward to our current situation. Our neighbor was cutting down some trees. We asked the company for the wood chips and they happily gave a truck load to us. It's the perfect time to lay wood chips down. It's winter in L.A. which is our rainy season. And the wood chips will be ready to nourish the spring growth!

A gift from our Anna apple tree

The main of benefits wood chips are:

1. Protects the roots by keeping them warm in the winter & cool in the summer (basically a natural insulation)

2. Breaks down over time creating a nutrient rich soil

3. Increases biodiversity (promotes beneficial insects)

4. Retains moisture which means watering less frequently

5. Controls weed growth

6. Soil becomes so rich there's no need for fertilizer over time

7. Using the circular model of recycling. Using something & then give it back to the Earth.

The pile getting smaller (and easier to climb for my son & his little mermaid)

The biggest benefit is sharing this knowledge with our kids. Our kids need to know how to use resources mindfully and give back to our Earth. Mother Earth can only feed us if we feed her and take care of her as well. This sustainable practice not only saved these wood chips from a land fill, but they will nourish our soil. This practice is literally feeding the Earth.

After harvesting some tomatoes & peppers, my 5 year old said it was too pretty to eat.

If you're interested in acquiring wood chips just call around your local tree trimming companies. Coordinating a date/time that works for both parties is key. You may not appreciate a wood pile in your yard right before a big party. Or you're like us and don't care because all of our friends already know we're crazy gardeners. Either way, I hope this post was insightful! Happy gardening!

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